MITA in the News – Report: Traffic-related deaths increased during pandemic

Wood TV, June 21, 2023

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new report by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, shows traffic-related deaths in Michigan spiked 15% between 2019 and 2022, even when COVID-related closures forced many to work from home.

The report shows that speeds on Michigan roads have increased significantly since the pandemic, and drivers are just taking riskier behavior,” said Lance Binoniemi, vice president of government affairs of the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association.

Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll said even though there were less drivers on the road during the pandemic, troopers saw an increase in speedy drivers.

“People thought there would be less traffic, more time for them to break the law, if you will,” he said. “Thinking law enforcement was not out there, and actually we were out enforcing the speed limits and other things and traffic control.”

According to the report, in 2019, there were 985 traffic-related deaths. More recently in 2022, there were 1,133.

“We have significant safety risk on our roads,” said Binoniemi. “And it’s not just due to the driving behavior. Our roads are in poor condition, as well all know, and we need to invest more.”